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Wed Aug 1, 2012, 05:46 PM

 

How Oakland became the spiritual capital of Occupy Wall Street

By Jonathan Mahler
New York Times Magazine
August 1, 2012

The Anti-Capitalist Brigade started gathering early on May Day at Oakland’s Snow Park. There was free coffee, oatmeal, doughnuts, fliers with the day’s agenda and plenty of pot. A “street medic”—“I just finished a wilderness first-aid course,” he told me when I asked about his training — tended to his first case of the day, a man in his 20s whose leg had been beaten to a purple hue with a metal rod in an overnight fight in the park. Nearby, an organizer reminded protesters to take down the toll-free number for the National Lawyers Guild: “This is important. Do not put it in your cellphones, because if you get arrested, the cops will take those away. Write it on your bodies. In indelible ink. There are Sharpies on the table.”

No central action was planned. A coalition of labor unions had asked Occupy Oakland, with its proven ability to turn out large numbers of militant activists, to blockade the Golden Gate Bridge, but then withdrew the request at the last minute. Instead, thousands of Occupy protesters met at various “strike stations” and fanned out into the streets with shields and gas masks (or the homemade alternative: bandannas soaked in vinegar), transforming downtown Oakland into a roving carnival of keyed-up militants of every shape and size: graduate students, tenured professors, professional revolutionaries, members of the Black Bloc, dressed like ninjas, their faces obscured.

Joints were passed, but this was not a mellow crowd. A barefoot man known as Running Wolf grabbed an American flag from outside a popular cop bar and dragged it behind him. Packs of protesters charged into businesses, overturning tables, shattering windows and smashing A.T.M.’s. An activist spray-painted vulgarities on the window of a Bank of America branch.

The Menace was loose again, as Hunter S. Thompson wrote about a different group of rabble-rousers, the Hell’s Angels. This riot had a soundtrack, too, a cacophony of chants—“Strike! Take Over!” and “Take Back Oakland! Kick Out the Yuppies!”—overlaid with beating snare drums and the rhythmic thump-thumping of the police and news helicopters hovering overhead.

More: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/05/magazine/oakland-occupy-movement.html

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Arrow 9 replies Author Time Post
Reply How Oakland became the spiritual capital of Occupy Wall Street (Original post)
UnrepentantLiberal Aug 2012 OP
eridani Aug 2012 #1
UnrepentantLiberal Aug 2012 #2
tama Aug 2012 #9
xchrom Aug 2012 #3
jade3000 Aug 2012 #4
jade3000 Aug 2012 #5
UnrepentantLiberal Aug 2012 #6
jade3000 Aug 2012 #7
UnrepentantLiberal Aug 2012 #8

Response to UnrepentantLiberal (Original post)

Sat Aug 4, 2012, 04:06 AM

1. So WTF is this random window-smashing crap about? n/t

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Response to eridani (Reply #1)

Sat Aug 4, 2012, 05:13 AM

2. I don't know.

 

I wasn't there and there's not much info. I can tell you that when OWS started, smashing windows wasn't the objective. "Black block" has crashed the party. Whether these are real people rioting as a protest or the police trying to discredit OWS or some mixture of the two is up for debate.

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Response to eridani (Reply #1)

Wed Aug 29, 2012, 06:19 AM

9. And WTF was that random violence

 

against banking facilities by a violent anarchist called Jesus Fucking Christ?

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Response to UnrepentantLiberal (Original post)

Sun Aug 5, 2012, 06:10 AM

3. du rec. nt

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Response to UnrepentantLiberal (Original post)

Fri Aug 10, 2012, 01:58 PM

4. This article is heavily biased

This article is a lazy and heavily biased attack on the radical activism -- past, present, and future -- in one of America's underrated city. He overemphasizes the importance of occupy and dismisses the talents and achievements of Oakland's activists. I lived in Oakland for years. It's far from perfect, but it's not like what the author describes.

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Response to UnrepentantLiberal (Original post)

Sat Aug 11, 2012, 11:19 AM

5. Response from Davey D.

Here's an excellent response from Davey D:
http://www.dominionofnewyork.com/2012/08/10/ny-times-underestimates-oaklands-radicals/#.UCZ2QrT2a8A

He gives some recent historical perspective. I posted it in the Goodreads, but I think it's worth linking it here as well.

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Response to jade3000 (Reply #5)

Sat Aug 11, 2012, 12:41 PM

6. That was a great response that put Oakland activism

 

into perspective.

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Response to UnrepentantLiberal (Original post)

Wed Aug 15, 2012, 07:48 PM

7. Counterpunch responds

Here's another good, critical response to the Times article: http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/08/15/oakland-incubator-for-meaningful-local-politics/

It's still just sad to me that the Times would print this dribble.

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Response to jade3000 (Reply #7)

Wed Aug 15, 2012, 11:15 PM

8. Excellent article.

 

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